WEDNESDAY, JULY 4: Bike helmet retailers have ruled out a voluntary ban on selling headgear with dark tinted visors — and some warned a law against them would be unlikely to deter gunmen.
Natasha Simmons, manager of Island Cycles in Hamilton, said she stocked helmets with full-face tinted visors — but only because they came with the helmets.
She was speaking after Superintendent Antoine Daniels called on retailers to stop selling dark visors in the wake of the recent gun murder of Joshua Robinson in a barbershop
Ms Simmons added that she would back a new law outlawing heavy tints — but stressed any legislation would have to be worded carefully to avoid being too harsh and compromising safety.
Ms Simmons pointed out that full-face helmets, even without visors, often obscured much of the wearer’s face, but were much safer than open face helmets.
She said: “A full-face helmet is much safer because they protect not only the head but the front of the face as well. But a full-face helmet also blocks much more of your face than an open-face helmet.
“It’s unfortunate that criminals are using tinted visors to hide their identities.”
Ms Simmons added that legislation banning the wearing of helmets indoors would be more workable — and help cut down on their use by gunmen and other criminals trying to hide their identities.
The gunman at the barbershop murder scene was wearing a helmet with a dark visor, as was the getaway driver of a motorcycle.
Mr Daniels said that there was nothing police could do about the use of dark tinted visors.
But he added that he wished retailers would stop importing and selling them because “it is causing us harm.”
He said: “A lot of gangsters are using them to commit shootings.”
Another businessman, with long experience in the bike trade, said: “I don’t think a ban would make a difference.”
The man, who asked not to be named, added: “If tinted visors are banned, people can buy clear ones and then buy spray-on tint. And anyone intent on shooting someone is unlikely to pay any attention to a law banning tinted visors. It’s just a Band-Aid solution.”
A spokesman for Wheels, in the city’s Dundonald Street, said the firm had not sold tinted visors for around a month because it had not had any in stock.
But he added: “It’s a toss-up – some people need to wear them because they have to wear eyeglasses, but some people will abuse them. But, looking out my window right now, the majority of people passing have tinted visors and they’re just going to work. People can still wear a scarf over their face to hide their identity as well.”
He added: “A lot of dentists are strongly in favour of full-face helmets – which make it hard to see the face – because they are safer. Where do you stop?
“To focus on the visors is not really the thing – motorcycles have numbers on them and that’s what they should be concentrating on.”
Paul DeCouto, a director of Cycle Care in Hamilton, said: “I definitely think something has to be done — the only issue that we as a company and a community organization has is safety.”
Mr DeCouto pointed out that around 90 per cent of modern helmets came with some sort of tinted visor, either internal or on the outside of the helmet.
He added that a ban on full-face visors would make it easier for police to track criminals through the CCTV network.
He added: “I see the logic, but enforcement is going to be very difficult. A lot of the new really safe helmets have a retractable internal visor. How they draft any law is very important. We don’t to take away anything that increases safety.
“It’s a style thing and a safety thing and trying to get manufacturers to supply only clear visors would be difficult. It’s a worldwide thing.”